Monday, January 17, 2011

Winter Salad with Black-Eye Peas and Spinach

Contrary to appearances, my diet does not consist solely of cookies and cheesecake. Every year I forget how much I love black-eye peas until New Year's rolls around. Remember Elizabeth's collard greens? Black-eye peas are also supposed to be served on New Year's Day for good luck. I'm told the greens represent dollars and the peas represent coins.

I've cooked black-eye peas different ways, but this is my favorite. It might horrify our Southern readers to imagine black-eye peas that haven't been cooked with fatback, or at least sprinkled with bacon, but this is delicious, easy to prepare, vegetarian, and actually fairly healthy! It's not just for New Year's either.

A few years ago, a friend asked me to bring a salad to a winter get together. She suggested some ingredients, but let's face it, in most of the US, store tomatoes in the winter are fairly blah. The ones sold on the vine are a little bit better, but still not the same as summer tomatoes. We won't even talk about the $5 red peppers! One of the pluses about this recipe is that it makes use of fresh veggies and fruit available now.

Winter Salad with Black-Eye Peas and Spinach

1 12 oz bag frozen black-eye peas
1/4 cup olive or canola oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (increase to 2 if you like a strong tang)
1 tablespoon mustard
1 good sized garlic clove, minced

fresh baby spinach leaves
1/4 red onion
clementines (if you hate oranges, substitute sliced pears)

Cook the black-eye peas according to the package.

Whisk together olive oil, honey, vinegar, and mustard, and stir in garlic. Pour 1/2 of the dressing over cooled black eye-peas and turn a bit to coat. Refrigerate for four hours or overnight.

Arrange spinach leaves on a platter, or on individual salad plates. Stir the black eye-peas (I think they're best if they come close to room temperature first) and mound in the center of the spinach. Slice the onion into very thin slices and scatter over the spinach. Peel the clementines and arrange on the spinach. Drizzle remaining dressing over the clementines and spinach.



  1. This looks like a tasty, easy, healthy recipe for the start of the year. And, having black eyes in January has got to be a good thing. :) I don't miss the bacon in this recipe because I think the tastes of the ingredients would mingle really well. Yum!

  2. It's sort of a winter take on a spinach salad. And I think you're right about it being healthy. Even my pickiest friend thinks it's okay!

    ~ Krista

  3. Ooh, healthy and pretty! I've never made black-eyed peas, but you've given me a great reason to give them a try! Gorgeous photo of a a fun and delicious-looking salad. I do love my salads. Thanks, Krista!

  4. Another winner, Krista. I have never seen frozen black eyed peas in our grocery stores (too far north here in Canada?) However, I plan to hunt them down when I am in Florida and share this with my vegetarian friends. I love all kinds of bean and grain salads and this sounds like a wonderful addition to the list!

  5. A diet of cookies and cheesecake. The problem? (Kidding, kidding.) I actually love salads and would gladly tuck right into this beauty. Your honey-mustard dressing looks especially tasty and easy to make --love the apple-cider vinegar. Nice. I'll be making this for sure.

    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  6. What a pretty salad! Love that the peas have meaning.

  7. Julie, your vegetarian daughter might like this recipe!

    MJ, I bet you have frozen black-eye peas. I alawys have to search for them, but they're usually there. Of course, this is the south where black-eye peas are a necessity!

    Cleo, I'd *like* to live on cookies and cheesecake! But I like salads, too, and this one is a little bit out of the ordinary.

    Thanks, Avery!

    ~ Krista

  8. Krista,
    This salad is beautiful! I love black eyed peas but never thought of them as "pretty" have totally changed my mind with this photo! I'll soon be jumping on the Weight Watchers train and I am going to make this salad a regular stop on my journey!!

  9. I was looking for a new salad with citrus to brighten things up a bit. I think this will be the one!